Wrest Park

Murphy Inter Club Shield 2019

The Shield is the GC equivalent of AC’s Mary Rose: a national intermediate level inter-club competition.

v Hunstanton (away)     25 April     lost 2-4

report by Richard Keighley

It started so well . . . but Hunstanton eliminated Wrest Park from the Murphy Shield again.

For the second year in a row, Wrest Park was drawn to play Hunstanton in the first round of the GC Murphy Inter-Club Shield. Hopes were high that a heavy defeat suffered a year ago could be reversed. A bright sunny day and a light breeze provided perfect conditions for the match at Hunstanton.

Each match in the Shield comprises seven rubbers played in two sessions and each rubber consists of best-of-three 13-point level play games. In the opening session, Rob Chatwin (3) and Richard Keighley played a double against Noel Gill (2), a recent addition to the International Development Squad, and Pauline Donner (4). They won a hard-fought first game 7-5, but soon found themselves 2-6 down in the second. However, they battled on and turned the game round to win it 7-6.

In the singles rubbers, Peter Aspinall (6) did not find his best form and was defeated 4-7 and 1-7 by low-handicapper John Reddish (3). However, Richard Skidmore (6) was at his tenacious best and beat David Boxell (4) in straight games, 7-6, 7-6.  

A scoreline of 2-1 in rubbers at lunchtime meant that Wrest Park had to win two rubbers out of four in the afternoon singles to progress.  Unfortunately, the Hunstanton team played some convincing croquet to win three of the four singles in straight games. Rob Chatwin lost to Pauline Donner, 6-7, 6-7. Richard Skidmore lost to John Reddish, 5-7, 6-7 and Peter Aspinall lost to David Boxell, 3-7, 6-7.

In the final singles, Richard Keighley lost an attritional first game to Noel Gill by 5-7. He had found the hoops to be exceptionally tight, complained and it proved necessary to reset all of them before the second game. It helped him because he won that game by 7-5. It was then appreciated that Hunstanton had an unassailable lead of 4-2 in rubbers in the match so it was agreed that there was no point in playing a deciding game and the players shook hands.

An enjoyable but unsuccessful day came to a close with a supper stop in Stow-cum-Quy on the way home.

© Wrest Park Croquet Club